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Naivete

Tweet [1]

Paul Krugman thinks [2] that Obama’s naive in thinking that he can change the country by being more congenial:

At one extreme, Barack Obama insists that the problem with America
is that our politics are so “bitter and partisan,” and insists that he
can get things done by ushering in a “different kind of politics.”

At
the opposite extreme, John Edwards blames the power of the wealthy and
corporate interests for our problems, and says, in effect, that America
needs another F.D.R. — a polarizing figure, the object of much hatred
from the right, who nonetheless succeeded in making big changes.

Over
the last few days Mr. Obama and Mr. Edwards have been conducting a
long-range argument over health care that gets right to this issue. And
I have to say that Mr. Obama comes off looking, well, naïve.

Maybe. Or is it Mr. Krugman who is naive? Surely Obama knows that sitting around and being congenial won’t bring about change. But he’s running for President. He says what he thinks voters want to hear [3]. How naive can Krugman be to think that Obama really thinks that change simply requires playing nice with everybody.

Or maybe I’m being naive. I actually think sometimes that Paul Krugman writes what he believes rather than what appeals to his readership in the New York Times. Surely he knows that Obama isn’t being naive but clever. Or does he?

It’s a strange game the press plays. They sort of kind of have to pretend that the candidates mean what they say. Sort of kind of. Because the rest of the  they treat the campaign as a strategic battle of messages.

I vote for less naivete all around.

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